McLaren Group, best known for its F1 racing team, has launched a new venture called McLaren Animation, according to LICENSE MAGAZINE. McLaren Animation’s first production, “Tooned,” is a CGI-animated series featuring McLaren’s two F1 world champions, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, who "voiced their own characters," as well as British actor and comedian Alexander Armstrong. “Tooned” will be broadcast "as a series of three-minute episodes" coinciding with each F1 Grand Prix, and will air in the U.K. on the Sky Sports F1 channel before each race. McLaren Animation is a joint venture launched in partnership with the visual effects and animation studio Framestore and "is structured under the corporate canopy" of the McLaren Group, alongside McLaren Marketing (LICENSE MAGAZINE, 7/11).
Marketing and Sponsorship
Nike is seeking "an independent review" of the Advertising Standards Authority's decision to ban tweets by its brand ambassadors -- footballers Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere -- for "breaching advertising rules," according to Daniel Farey-Jones of MARKETING MAGAZINE. Nike became "the first U.K. company to have a Twitter campaign banned" when the ASA cracked down last month on the following tweets the players published in January. The ASA investigated after one complaint that challenged whether both tweets were "identifiable as marketing communications." It ruled that "in the absence of a marker, for example #ad, the tweets were not obviously identifiable" as Nike marketing communications and therefore "breached the CAP Code rules on recognition of marketing communications." However, Nike has "yet to remove the tweets" despite the ASA’s ruling they should no longer appear, because it is "invoking the watchdog’s own appeals process" (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 7/10).
German ice hockey league (DEL) club Hannover Scorpions extended its title sponsorship deal with tourism company TUI through the end of the '12-13 season. Besides having the company's logo on the players' chests, TUI will also be ever-present at Scorpions home games. The Scorpions also unveiled their new jerseys for the upcoming DEL season. The warm-up jersey features the names of all season-ticket holders who have bought their season tickets for the '12-13 season in March, way before it was clear that the indebted team would even get a license for the new season (Hannover Scorpions).
Qatar Airways has "been approached by two Premier League clubs" about potential sponsorships, according to Robert Lea of the LONDON TIMES. Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker "insisted that any such deal would be signed only if he could get stadium naming rights." That notion led to speculation that the airline "could link up with West Ham United, leading to the Olympic stadium being renamed something like the Qatardome." Al-Baker said he did not follow rivals Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways into EPL sponsorships because he could "spend the same amount of money (in other marketing expenditure) for the same amount of publicity." However, he "admitted that that might change" (LONDON TIMES, 7/11). Reuters' Rhys Jones wrote al-Baker said the approaches "had come from clubs looking to build new stadia" and the airline "favored a deal involving stadium naming rights" -- similar to Arsenal's deal with Dubai-based Emirates Airline. Al-Baker: "If we do it we would like to do it in a big way." EPL clubs Liverpool and Tottenham are known to be considering building new stadia (REUTERS, 7/11).
German automotive manufacturer BMW has admitted it is "unlikely" to sponsor the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janerio after "its first multi-million pound foray as a top-tier sponsor" of the London Games, according to Arif Durrani of MARKETING MAGAZINE. BMW paid an estimated £50M ($77.7M) to be among the top sponsors of '12. When asked if the company was looking to continue its top-level involvement with the Olympic Games, BMW Communications Dir Graham Biggs "made his feelings clear." Biggs: "No. It’s a one-off, but it [the sponsorship] is a long-term commitment to sport. BMW has been supporting sport for many years, motor sport but also golf and we’ve just announced our sponsorship of the Rugby Football Union from September. Sport’s very important to us." Asked if he could rule out becoming "a top tier sponsor" at the 2016 Games, Biggs said: "I think it’s unlikely, but there have been some discussions with the Rio guys. But it is a big investment… We did provide cars at the  Atlanta Games." The presence of the car manufacturer was later hailed as "vital" from an operational point of view, by LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 7/11).
Austrian football club Admira Wacker has teamed with online print company Flyeralarm as its new title sponsor for the '12-13 Bundesliga season. The name and logo of Flyeralarm, which is the biggest online printing company in Europe, will be displayed across the players' chests. Flyeralam is no stranger in sports sponsoring. Last winter the company became the title sponsor of skier Reinfried Herbst, who won the silver medal at the men's slalom event at the 2006 Winter Olympics and the Slalom World Cup in '10 (Admira Wacker).
The BBC reported that the Irish Football Association "has agreed to a lucrative commercial deal" with adidas. The "multi-million pound deal" will see the German company come on board as Northern Ireland football's main sponsor for the next four years. The deal, which will be worth between £3M ($4.7M) and £4M ($6.2M), "follows months of negotiations between the parties." The new sponsor and new strip are "set to be unveiled to the public next week" (BBC, 7/10).
BEAUTY FIRST: European beauty brand Oriflame has extended its sponsorship with the Women's Tennis Association for two years. Oriflame's support of the WTA will expand to include digital and marketing rights along with player advertising rights and sponsorship of the WTA's season-ending Championships. Oriflame will also become an official partner of the WTA's Tennis Festivals in China and continue as a partner of the WTA's annual pre-Wimbledon party (WTA).
IF THE SHOE FITS: French sports equipment company Babolat has agreed to a partnership with Wimbledon. Babolat will become the official shoe brand of Wimbledon and will equip ball boys and girls with footwear during the event (Babolat).
BOUNCING IN: Sports balls and equipment manufacturer Molten will renew its sponsorship with Basketball Ireland beginning in September. The sponsorship deal means the Molten 12-panel basketball will be the official ball for Basketball Ireland for all int'l and domestic games, including schools, colleges and universities. Under the agreement, Molten will provide Basketball Ireland with a range of its top basketballs plus additional funding to support the organization's work in developing the sport in Ireland (Molten).
PARTNERSHIP: The Australian Rugby Union and UN Women Australia have agreed to a partnership that will allow the two organizations to work together on raising awareness about the role women play in leadership and sport. The agreement will also ensure young men and women are provided with the skills, knowledge and experience necessary to become leaders in their communities, workplaces and families (Australian Rugby Union).